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September 21, 2023

Jalen Carter by the numbers: Eagles' rookie is already playing like a star

The Eagles' Jalen Carter is playing like the best defensive rookie in the NFL. Here are the stats that illustrate his early career success.

The early returns on Jalen Carter's rookie campaign are as good as could've been imagined. The former Georgia Bulldog's talent was never in question. He was presumed to be the top player in his draft class, but legal troubles pushed him down teams' boards. The first-year defensive tackle is only two games into his Eagles tenure, but he might be more than a "star in the making." He's playing like a star right now.

Carter is passing the eye test with ease, already commanding double teams and causing havoc for opposing quarterbacks. The numbers behind his play back that up and then some. Here are a few choice stats (via Pro Football Focus) that showcase why, as we approach Week 3, Carter should be the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and perhaps one day hold the crown as the best player from the 2023 NFL Draft...

A QB's Nightmare 😈

Carter has 11 QB pressures this season on 59 pass-rush snaps. That's more than any other interior defensive lineman. No, not just rookie DTs. Any interior defender, period. That's more than Pro Bowlers Jonathan Allen (10 pressures on 74 pass rush snaps) and Jeffery Simmons (nine pressures on 77 pass rush snaps). Carter has outperformed the star DT he was partially brought in to replace, too. Former Eagle and current 49er Javon Hargrave has eight pressures on 75 pass rush snaps.

Winning the Day 🥇

Carter is 11th among interior d-linemen in pass rush win rate (minimum 25 pass rush snaps), which PFF describes as "the percentage of 'wins' vs. on non-penalty pass rush snaps" at 19.3 percent. That's more than any rookie pass rusher, whether they be an inside rusher or one along the edge. Raiders edge rusher Tyree Wilson, who was selected two picks ahead of Carter back in April, has a pass rush win rate of 0.0 percent in 47 pass rush snaps. I'm getting some "Mike Mamula over Warren Snapp" vibes on that one!

Report Card 📖

I love PFF's stats, but some of their overall "grades" can be a little finicky. With that caveat, Carter is grading out like a guy who's going to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. He's PFF's highest graded rookie defender overall (90.2), highest graded rookie run defender (80.5) and second highest graded rookie pass rusher (82.2). Carter is also PFF's highest graded Eagle on either side of the ball. 

Tale of the Tape 📺

If those stats are a bit too esoteric for you and you just want some old-school video evidence of Carter's premier play, here's him bursting by helpless Vikings center Austin Schlottmann for a big tackle for loss:

Expect a lot more of that in the years to come, Eagles fans. 

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